Timely Persuasion - Online Edition - Chapter 17


Wounded Kite At :17

    After what seemed like hours of trying to sleep but was actually closer to seven minutes, I realized that a big part of this headache might be malnutrition.  My stomach was growling and also in pain, but I had failed to notice with the mosh pit rocking and rolling in my head.  I hadn’t eaten for over a month because I wasn’t able to, but I probably wouldn’t have even if I could as I never felt the need.  Even though my body had theoretically never left, it was screaming for nourishment now that my brain was back.

    Weakly I crawled up the stairs (I hadn’t climbed stairs in so long I had taken for granted how much effort they really took) and stumbled into the kitchen.  My head still a blur, I found a ham and cheese croissant in the freezer and tossed it into the microwave.  Upon closing the microwave door, I caught my reflection in the glass and almost fell over.

    The problem wasn’t in what I looked like so much as that it wasn’t what I looked like.  The man in the mirror was a stranger.  I couldn’t quite place the specifics at first, just that my hair seemed darker, my eyebrows thinner, and my face narrower.  Forgetting about my aching body, I ran to the bathroom to get a better, full color look in a proper mirror. 

    My normally straight blonde hair was now red and somewhat curly.  Not the dyed red I experimented with on occasion in my younger days, but a natural hue closer to Glitzy’s color.  I also had to be at least three inches taller, and upon closer inspection saw that I lost at least an inch down below as well.  A wide goatee engulfed my chin and upper lip in a darker shade than the red locks on my head. 

    I felt my entire face to confirm what I was seeing, and noticed that my sense of touch was in perfect synchronicity with what I saw in the reflection.  As I was trying to recall if Sam Beckett felt his own face or that of the person he leapt into, my mother knocked on the door.

    “Is everything alright in there?”

    “Yes.  Fine.”

    “Is that thing in the microwave yours?”

    I’d already forgotten about my starvation, but the very mention of food brought the aches in both my stomach and my head to the forefront of my consciousness again.

    “Yes.  I’ll get it in a second.”

    “Don’t eat too much now.  Your father and brother will be back with dinner in ten minutes.”


    Wait, brother? 

    “What did you say?  I can’t hear you.”

    Mom screamed back, “I’ll tell you when you come out.  You’re frozen thing is on the table waiting for you.  Do you want something to drink with that?”

    After splashing water on my face and taking about five aspirin I got my composure together enough to be somewhat presentable and walked into the kitchen.  Mom was wiping down the microwave with a dishtowel, trying in vain to eliminate the smell of my junk food.  Undeterred, I scarfed down the croissant in two bites.

    “What’s for dinner?” I asked, my mouth still half full.

    “Town Spa Pizza.  Your favorite.”

    Mmmm...Town Spa.  “And who did you say is coming?”

    “Your father is picking up the pizza and coming over with your brother.  He should be here any minute.  Will you set the table?”

    “Don’t you mean my sister?”

    Mom threw down the towel.

    “Jesus!  You know I don’t like it when you call him that.  It’s not nice, and it’s really immature.  There’s nothing wrong with it so long as it’s his choice.”

    I wanted to ask what there was nothing wrong with, but decided to just see for myself.

    After setting the table as penance and drinking a gallon of water my stomach was somewhat normal.  My body still felt weak, but at least the aspirin had toned my head down to a single alarm quake rather than the raging death hangover it had been before.  Or at least it had toned it down until the creaking of the storm door sent another shockwave up the expressway to my skull.

    The front door opened, and in walked my older father as I had always remembered him.  Behind him was the brother I’d never had before.  And behind the two of them was Nelson, same as he ever was.

    Stomach churning, I immediately vomited a mixture of water and snack before collapsing onto the floor.

Still groggy, aching, and starving, I woke up on the couch with a figure hovering above me. 

    “Mom?  Mom is that you?”

    This seemed oddly familiar.  Was it all a dream?

    “There there honey.  Are you okay?  Should I call the doctor?”

    “No doctor, I’m fine.  Just a stomach thing.”

    “I knew it.  You shouldn’t eat that junk anyways.  There’s still plenty of pizza left whenever you’re ready.  Your brother and Nelson are out back helping your father with something in the shed.”

    Nope, not a dream.

    “Thanks, Mom.  Can you bring the food to me?” I asked, confused as to the real difference between microwaved junk food and bar style pizza but not wanting to start a lengthy debate.  She retreated upstairs to the kitchen, returning moments later with the familiar white and blue box.

    “While I’ve got you cornered, look here and smile!”

    I turned my head away as the flashbulb exploded, sending another shooting pain through my brain.

    “No flash photography!”